Monday, September 9

Let's use our energy, imagination and resources to get basic health care to children.

Let's work our tails off to structure a society in which children are celebrated and welcomed, not aborted a million and a half times a year.

Nah - that would be too much work.

Let's watch three vets operate on a $4.95 goldfish instead.

A year ago today (September 9), young husband and father Michael Brink was killed in a car accident. Only 26, he left behind his wife Nancy, and 4 1/2 month-old daughter Emma. I taught Nancy in her senior year in high school, as well as her sister Erin, and value their mother, Molly's friendship more than I can say. These are days of remembering losses and tragedies. Michael's untimely passing is an opportunity for one more prayer, one more moment reaching for understanding and hope.
3 Lexington diocese priests have been arrested for exposure and the like over the past few years - two of the arrests were a complete surprise to the diocese.

One of the priests, Rev. Kenneth Waibel, had made news in 1997 with his words at a conference in Los Angeles. Scroll down to the last three paragraphs to get the gist:

"Heterosexual men," said Father Waibel, "cannot fall in love with Jesus Christ because of their own homophobia. Jesus wants us to be erotically in love with him, and that's not possible with the homophobes." He spoke about the heterosexual couples he prepares for marriage and how the rituals he performs for them emphasize disunity. On the other hand he had nothing but praise for the same-sex "union blessings" he has witnessed.

The follow-up to those learned words is described here (scroll down a bit):

This remark was also published in the Wanderer, a national Catholic publication. Someone in Father Waibel's parish who received the Wanderer, sent copies of the article containing the quote to all of Father Waibel's parishioners. Controversy arose as parishioners did not know that Father Waibel had been to California, much less that he held such opinions. In a October 26 letter sent to his parishioners, Father Waibel talks about "being stabbed in the back," and asks his parishioners what he should do. But by that time it was too late. Under pressure to resign, Father Waibel tendered his resignation to Bishop J. Kendrick Williams of Lexington, Kentucky. The resignation created a sensation in Richmond, Kentucky and was a front page story in the Lexington Herald Leader. According to the paper, Father Waibel's resignation is effective November 14, 1997, after which he will go on a "five to six month sabbatical."




A good commentary from Commonweal on how VOTF falls short.

VOTF leadership needs to navigate carefully if it wants to avoid the fate of other reform groups, dismissed as fringe liberals and marginalized within the church. If Voice of the Faithful wants improved lay participation in church governance, it will have to reach out more vigorously to conservatives and it will have to be able to speak to and work with bishops. Not to mention the young and minorities. Voice of the Faithful may have legs, but they aren't youthful ones.

There's also a description of the the words of abuse survivors to the convention, and they weren't pretty, a fact of which I was unaware:

At the final session of the day, four SNAP members spoke. Three of the presentations were moving, honest, and brief. The fourth was something else. Arthur Austin, introduced as a "poet and a prophet," explained why SNAP members were protesting outside the convention center. They picketed, he said, because they considered the VOTF meeting "too little, too late, and too much about you." "You have no right," he went on, "to judge them…or feel Catholically smug….All you get is the right to beg their forgiveness." This did not go over well with an audience sympathetic to the victims of sexual abuse and outraged over the treatment they have received. Austin's speech was, in effect, an indictment of the VOTF project itself: multitudes gathered, he said disdainfully, "to honor your highly strategized, thoroughly debated, very quiet agenda."

The process begins for the canonization of Fulton Sheen:

The Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation today announced it is issuing a worldwide appeal to those with documentation or testimony to establish sainthood for the late archbishop. The foundation appeal follows notification that the Diocese of Peoria is formally initiating the canonization process for Sheen. As the diocese begins its investigation into his life, the foundation is seeking materials helpful to the cause, including copies of letters, film, video, photos, and recollections of personal experiences. If canonized, Sheen would become the first American-born male saint.

The Sheen Foundation

Praying in the Presence of the Lord with Fulton J. Sheen.

Slow blogging today, yes indeed. It was an appointment day: doctor's, and since Michael was home to help with the baby for that, hair, too. Personal appearance will need to get a boost up on the priority list over the next week - I'll be flying down to the EWTN studios in Birmingham for a day next week to tape an Abundant Life episode with Johnette Benkovic. Don't know when it will air. When I find out, I'll be sure to....keep it a secret, okay?
Church leaders outraged over Venice Film Festival award

Roman Catholic leaders denounced the Venice Film Festival on Monday for honoring a British movie that depicts cruelty and abuse in an Irish Catholic institution. Peter Mullan's hard-hitting "The Magdalene Sisters" won the Festival's prestigious Golden Lion award late on Sunday -- a decision that infuriated churchmen who branded the film anti-Catholic propaganda. "I feel enormous bitterness...This doesn't do any credit to the Venice Festival," said Cardinal Ersilio Tonini. "This isn't a truthful portrayal of the Church and its director has made libellous statements against Catholics," he told reporters. The movie follows the lives of four, supposedly promiscuous girls interned in Ireland's Magdalene Asylums in the 1960s, forced to work like slaves in laundries and abused by the nuns.

Jennifer Granholm attends pancake breakfast. Is confronted by peaceful, smart prolife questioners. Decides she has better things to do. Victor Lams blogs the press release here.

– About fifty pro-lifers showed up early Saturday morning - some to eat pancakes served up by partial-birth abortion advocate and gubernatorial candidate Jennifer Granholm. Their goal was to meet Granholm face to face and challenge her strong support for what the Catholic Church calls murder. At least five Catholic law students say they were inspired to attend by Cardinal Adam Maida’s recent declaration that “Catholic lawyers must be always ready to speak and act in such a way that the dignity of life is promoted and defended on every level.” [Cardinal's Homily] While Granholm’s opponent, Dick Posthumus, shook hands and discussed issues with hundreds of voters, Granholm left the event after her brief turn at the griddle – breaking protocol for candidates who attend this annual event. Students Cindy Kalar and Ian Northon asked her why she postures as a Catholic while advocating partial-birth abortion as good public policy. According to the students, Granholm offered a short, impersonal, response as her entourage hastily shuffled her away.Granholm’s reaction to these attractive young students was understandable: Kalar’s shirt bore the message “Granholm: Catholic? Pro-abortion-murder? Which is she?” and Northon’s shirt asked “If Granholm lies about her religion, how can we trust her as Governor?” According to Kalar, “Granholm needs to know that bright, young, Catholic women find her position indefensible and disingenuous. Why is she afraid to talk to law students about such an important issue?”


Archbishop Dolan comes out swinging

Young males more accustomed to hearing metal bands such as Godsmack might have been surprised to hear Dolan's invitation to consider a vocation to the priesthood or religious life on rock stations WLZR (102.9 FM) and WLUM (102.1 FM).And young men and women listeners to top-40 WXSS (103.7 FM), urban-music WKKV (100.7 FM) and classical-music WFMR (106.9 FM) would not have gleaned even a hint from Dolan's enthusiastic pitch that the Catholic clergy in the United States have been facing a sexual abuse crisis of historic proportions.....After introducing himself in the ad, Dolan encourages single and married listeners to consider whether Jesus is asking them to take their call as committed Christians more seriously and to serve Jesus and the church in an even more generous and wholehearted way."Yes, by intensifying your love and service to your husband, wife, children, family, friends, classmates, community, parish, co-workers, neighbors," Dolan says in the ad. "And yes, maybe, just maybe, by considering the possibility the Lord might be calling you to serve him and his church as a priest, deacon, religious sister or brother, or professional lay minister."

Thousands flock to see "weeping" Madonna statue in western Australia.
Stephen Brady of Roman Catholic Faithful, the "conservative watchdog group" mention in Fr. Garner's op-ed below, has written a letter to the Dallas paper in response:

First, as President of the “watchdogs” (Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc.) I would like to respond to a few of Mr. Garner’s false statements regarding the activities of our group. Secondly, I would like to respond to his attacks on “our culture” and his denial of reality.Garner stated that: “When a conservative watchdog group infiltrated the site and stole its
content, they forwarded only the most salacious material to our religious superiors. The results were professionally damaging to some, and personally devastating to all.” Nothing could be further from the truth. RCF was contacted by a member of “St. Sebastian’s Angels,” (the homosexual clergy group Mr. Garner belonged to) when some members of the group started to pass around pornographic photos of themselves and others. One priest had even sent in a photo of himself and a 12 year-old boy he was traveling with. The photo included a statement by the priest which stated in part “he (the 12 year-old boy) is not my current lover.” Our source was rightly offended that this group of Roman Catholic priests would act in such a manner. The Sebastian’s Angels web site that contained photos of some of the members, including one Dallas priest, along with a pornographic video loop, could be accessed by anyone who had the address. The emails the homosexual priests shared with each other were sent out to 55 members and their friends. There was nothing private about this site; in fact, it was out in the public domain for all to see. According to Mr. Garner, “The priests involved in that Web site were like me. They were looking for the kind of companionship and solidarity that would help them minister with integrity. …these were also deeply spiritual men, and their prayerful support and unconditional acceptance nurtured my soul.” Many of the members did indeed offer and ask for prayerful support. A priest from Atlanta asked for prayers when his married lover had to return to his wife and children in another state. An Australian priest shared a morning prayer he had written that, among other things, asked God to bless his “orgasm.” Unfortunately, these are but a few common examples of the perversity in perception of these men who were ordained to a life of celibacy and complete adherence to the life and law of the Church. By his own admission, Mr. Garner was “living a lie”. It must be made clear that this was not a group of priests seeking the company of other priests who suffered with the cross of homosexual attractions. These men were not attempting to overcome their inclinations and live a life free of sexually acting out. They were there to support one another in a sexually permissive, often sexually active way. A sizeable number of them were participating in sexual fantasies and celebrating pornography. Can anyone honestly say that this was a nurturing environment for a Roman Catholic Priest? Or was it, rather, a place where everyone could be accepted in his deviant behavior without hearing a voice of correction or admonition from someone seeking to truly bring them closer to God. Mr. Garner’s statement that “Like many priests, soon after my ordination, I experienced an emptiness I hadn't known before. My life in the seminary, like my life in the military, had been surrounded by friends and filled with attractions and distractions. But parish ministry and public life introduced me to a profound sense of loneliness,” suggests to me that perhaps he had chosen the wrong vocation in life. A vocation to the priesthood occurs when the priest is chosen by God. God would not select a man who had a sexual disorder. In fact, the Holy Father himself has just this week declared “it would be lamentable that, because of a misunderstood tolerance, immature youths or youths with obvious signs of emotional disorders, be admitted to ordination, which – as is sadly known – can cause grave scandal in the consciences of the faithful and obvious harm for the whole Church.” The fruits of Mr. Garner’s ordination, which in all likelihood should never have occurred, are unfortunate and obvious. According to a papal spokesman, it is possible that homosexuals attempting ordination may not be valid priests at all.
(Um.....maybe he said that, but it's a ridiculous statement and simply not true) It is regrettable that some homosexuals invent derogatory made-up words, such as “homophobe”, to label those of us who refuse to embrace and accept deviant sexual lifestyles. If Mr. Garner wants to blame someone besides himself for his troubles, he may do well to look to those seminary professors who failed to educate him, or to the Bishop who ordained him. The priesthood is no place for someone who “[doesn’t] have the emotional stamina” necessary and who believes to remain a priest means to “live a lie.” As the Pope continued in his statement last Thursday to a group of Brazilian Bishops, the Church must be careful not to allow men who had what he said were obvious "deviations in their affections" from entering seminaries to train for the priesthood. (“Men with Deviant Affections Can't Be Priests–Pope” Sept. 5 – by Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters)) Roman Catholic Faithful did not destroy Mr. Garner’s name or his “career.” He is living the results of his own actions. May God grant Cliff Garner the grace to accept the truth.



New Zealand Muslims had been praying in wrong direction for 20 years

A New Zealand mosque will be realigned to face Mecca 23 years after it was built.The building should point toward the holy city of Mecca but is off by 30 degrees.The problem was discovered three years ago and enough money has now been raised to correct the mistake.

From the WaPo:A recap of the LA Cathedral
Another, slightly more detailed look at what Milingo says in his book.

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